Martin Skrelunas

Recent Articles

Officials Vote 4-0 To Delay Demolition of ca. 1830-Built Forest Street Home

Saying that more information is needed about a new two-family house planned for Forest Street, town officials on Monday voted unanimously to impose a 90-day delay in the demolition of an existing antique structure on the .3-acre lot. Members of the Historical Review Committee during a special meeting described the architecture of the approximately 1830-built home at 74 Forest St. as a “vernacular” type that rapidly is disappearing in a historically important area. Committee member Martin Skrelunas, an architecture and landscape preservationist, said the red-painted house “represents and is one of last of this style in New Canaan.”

Addressing Tom Sturges, the contractor on the construction project, Skrelunas said, “I think the thing that could be special about your project is, knowing you’re building from scratch, is that you can demonstrate that you can build in a non-designated historic street but maintain that history, maintain that spirit, which in turn could benefit the rest of that block.”

“I think there will be change on the rest [of the street] and if you are able to do that, I could see others following suit and becoming a much more valuable area,” Skrelunas said at the meeting, held in the Janet Lindstrom Room at the New Canaan Historical Society’s Town House. Committee member Rose Scott Long, an architectural preservationist, added: “This is kind of a crucial point because there is definitely going to be more development in that area and what you do here it is really going to have a great impact.”

The committee voted 4-0 to impose the delay. Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , , , , , ,

Officials To Recommend Creation of Town-District Combined ‘Task Force’ To Determine Future Home of Board of Education [CORRECTED]

New Canaan should appoint a task force of town and school district representatives to evaluate what are the best options for a future Board of Education home, according to a primary recommendation committee that’s writing a soon-to-be-released report on the state, uses, capital needs and future of municipally owned buildings. Referring to the former Outback Teen Center as the ‘Town Hall annex,’ the committee also is to recommend that the long-vacant structure be used to house an alternative high school program. The Town Building Evaluation & Use Committee also will recommend that New Canaan “provide funds for architectural engineering designs to address long-delayed, necessary capital improvements at the police station,” co-chairman Amy Murphy Carroll said at the group’s most recent meeting, held Nov. 29 at Town Hall. She read from the Executive Summary of a draft report that’s expected to be presented this month to the Board of Selectmen, Board of Finance and Town Council. Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , , , , , ,

Committee Mulls Whether Town Should Continue As Owner of Playhouse

Does it make sense for the town to continue to own the New Canaan Playhouse building downtown, especially considering that it needs more than $2 million in repairs? That’s a topic that members of the Town Building Evaluation & Use Committee broached during their most recent meeting at Town Hall. The town acquired the building at 89 Elm St.—which also includes street-level retail space and second-floor offices—in August 2007 for about $2.2 million. However, officials have been mulling in recent years whether it makes sense for the town to continue to lease the facility to BowTie Cinemas and have it operate as a private movie theater, considering the major capital investment needed to make it safe, structurally sound and ADA-compliant. The figure three years ago was pegged at $2.1 million (major line items at the 1923 building include partial roof and brick exterior replacement, elevator and ADA-compliant wheelchair access, new gutters and drainage system and new layout for its sprinkler system). Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , , , , , ,

‘They Need To Be Separate’: Town Officials Weigh Future of Human Services’ Vine Cottage Home

Should their current base of operations be sold or otherwise offloaded, the municipal employees who work out of Vine Cottage on Main Street likely could not re-locate into Town Hall due to the sensitive nature of their jobs, officials say. Members of the Human Services Department “feel very strongly that they need to be separate from the Town Hall because of confidentiality issues and the clients that they are dealing with,” according to Penny Young, co-chair of the Town Building Evaluation and Use Committee. “And that is why they were not incorporated into this redesign of Town Hall,” Young said at the committee’s most recent meeting, held Sept. 28 at Town Hall. “So that needs to stay uppermost in our mind, is their function and their need for being separate from Town Hall.”

It isn’t clear just where the department, whose staff includes senior outreach and social workers, would move to if displaced from Vine Cottage. Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , , , , , ,

Committee: 20 Percent of Space in Town-Owned Buildings Is Currently Unused

About 20 percent of space in town-owned, non-district buildings is now unused, and another 25 percent need major repairs, officials said last week. Just what the town should do about that empty space, and what capital maintenance it should invest in, are major questions facing New Canaan, according to Amy Murphy Carroll. “I think everything jumps out to you with just the amount of square footage that is vacant,” Carroll, a co-chair of the Town Building Evaluation & Use Committee, said during the group’s Sept. 28 special meeting. “And I will throw this out: I mean if things are not needed—and ‘need’ is a relative thing—sometimes it costs money to own more and the cost to tear down is not going to go down,” she added at the meeting, held in Town Hall. Continue Reading →

Filed under: , , , , , , ,